There is a special kind of euphoria that comes from harvesting my own food that I have not felt in any other productive endeavor. I read somewhere that the worst day working in cooperation with the land is better than the best day in the office, and I must wholeheartedly concur.
If only I’d learned that sooner, I would not have such steep learning curves to navigate in middle age!
Mushroom hunting is certainly on the top of that steep learning curve list, not to mention a potentially deadly hobby. While there are actually only a few truly deadly mushrooms, there are many that will make you sick and quite a few choice species that are so similar to poisonous species that even experts are occasionally fooled.
For the novice mushroom hunter there are only a handful of no-brainer finds, and as the dogs and I walked our trails this morning, I spotted one of the choicest of these, the Hedgehog. Actually there were three, and I took the biggest, a whopping one pound ten ounces. Interestingly, the season of these mushrooms is winter, which makes me wonder, when it’s still an unseasonal 85 degrees Fahrenheit here and hasn’t rained in many weeks, how do they judge winter exactly?
In the garden it’s the summer crops that are thriving—to accompany my Hedgehog mushroom I harvested some cucumbers, radishes, basil and Napa cabbage. The second crop of tomatoes this year are nearly ready too. If Handy Hubby were home I’d add to that some thinly sliced duck breast. Then I’d look at our plates and think wow, I can’t believe how often now our meals come from our own land, our own hands. What amazing peace of mind this is considering how unhealthful and/or expensive food in the grocery stores has become, with the distinct impression it’s only getting worse.
If I turn on the TV or read a newspaper I’m reminded I once considered the daily grind and the endless mindless consumption ‘reality’. Now I often watch and read the various panic porn channels online and sometimes they get me pretty riled up.
Then I walk out to our garden or through our woods and I remember what is really reality. Civilization is not realty. And what we are currently calling civilization is about as far from reality as it gets.
Y’all can keep it! My happiness is in the hunt and the harvest and of course, Handy Hubby. All the rest of it is worth less than a hill of beans.
Our faithful and exuberant foraging, hunting, harvesting companions. 🙂